Killing It – VAULT Festival, London

Reviewer: Mike Wells

Writer: Josephine Starte

Director: Lily McLeish

Grief is complicated. There’s no template to follow, no uniform experience. It’s as individual as you and I, and this show presents three generations of experience triggered by the same tragic incident.

After a young man goes missing at sea, his girlfriend, mother, and grandmother ‘cope’ in their own, very different ways.

His girlfriend Molly channels her loss into a stand-up routine, using humour to lighten a weight so great it’ll crush her if she lets it. Her grief is the most visually acute. Played by Josephine Starte who also wrote the show, she delivers a genuinely touching performance which at times is terribly funny, and others terribly sad.

His mother Vanessa throws herself into her work. She works tirelessly to fund the answers to the questions that keep her up at night. Doña Croll plays her with a wonderful intensity, in keeping with the ‘keep yourself busy’ mantra so often the go-to response in such circumstances.

His grandmother Margot on the other hand is too busy planning her assassination of President Trump to be affected by it. Janet Henfrey is glorious as Margot, with a wonderful energy throughout the piece.

The show transitions between their three worlds with Molly being the thread that holds the piece together. As a work of literature, it weaves the three experiences together with real skill and the stand-up interludes are excellent.

The set was simple but effective, with a few home comforts here and there being all that was needed to set the scene effectively. Water was also integrated into the set too, which was a nice touch.

As a theme it’s something that’s affected all of us at one time or other. With that comes a real responsibility to present it with the respect it deserves, and Starte’s script does exactly that.

Reviewed on 26 February 2020

The Reviews Hub Score

A tragicomedy

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